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Willie Dixon's Best 10 Blues Albums

Updated on March 29, 2011

Willie Dixon was born on the 1st July 1915 in Vicksburg, Mississippi and went on to become one of the foremost Blues songwriters of all time, at the same time he was an accomplished Bass Player and Record Producer.

Willie Dixon's most famous songs included "Little Red Rooster", "Hoochie Coochie Man", "Evil", "Spoonful" and "Back Door Man" and were covered by a plethora of Blues musicians principally they were made famous by his colleagues Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf and Little Walter.

During the 1970s and 80's his health deteriorated due to his long standing diabetes which eventually led to him having his leg amputated. He carried on working and promoting Blues Music until he died of heart failure on the 29th January 1992 in Burbank California.

1. I am the Blues

This album was originally released in 1970 and has Willie Dixon himself covering nine of his own classics and each one is a gem. The songs range from Back Door Man to Spoonful to Hoochie Coochie Man to Little Red Rooster. Classics one and all.

The reason I rate this so highly is because you get to hear Willie Dixon himself cover these songs rather than their better known interpreters. Dixon does a great job singing these tunes and you get a sense of how the man who actually wrote them intended for them to sound.

2. The Chess Box

This two CD box set has 36 famous or forgotten songs composed by Willie Dixon. These songs are covered either by Dixon himself or by the person that made them famous. Thus you get Howli' Wolf covering "Back Door Man" and "Evil". You get Muddy Waters singing "Hoochie Coochie Man," and Bo Diddley with "You Can't Judge a Book by Its Cover".

This set really showcases what an integral part of the Chicago Blues scene Willie Dixon was and how he was responsible for some the biggest and best blues standards. This bix set also highlights what a superb bass player Dixon was as he helps out on the tracks.

3. Willie's Blues

This is a re-release of a 1959 album featuring Willie Dixon and Memphis Slim. Legend has it that it was completely unrehearsed and took them a few hours to record and commit 12 perfect cuts of Chicago Blues to posterity and was just a fill in between gigs for the two musicians. On here you get to hear Dixon singing "Built for Comfort" a song later made famous by Howlin' Wolf.

In addition to all this you also get Memphis Slim's superb paino throughout including a couple of his own numbers in between the Dixon penned ones.

5. Mighty Earthquake & Hurricane

This is another classic album from 1983. Considered one of Willie Dixon's best recordings it's a smooth ride and again features some Dixon music covered by the man himself. Standout tracks on this album are probably "Grave Digger Blues" and "After Five Long Years".

4. Hidden Charms

This album was a Grammy winning album from 1988. It's a much lower key recording than much of Dixon's canon but is a great departure in style. If you're looking for Dixon classics like Red Rooster and others in that ilk this may not be for you but if want tunes with a bit more relection such as "Blues You Can't Lose" and "I Don't Trust Myself" then its well worth giving this a try.

A great addition to your collection - if you can find it.

6. In Paris: Baby Please Come Home

This is a live album originally released in 1963 of a 1962 concert featuring Willie Dixon and Memphis Slim performing as a trio in Paris with drummer Philippe Combelle. This live set gives you an excellent chance to hear Dioxn the bass player showing why he was so much in demand over the years in the studio.

Especially good is the opening track "Rock and Rolling the House" where Dixons bass solo is worth the price of admission on its own.

8. I Think I Got the Blues

This is a gret compilation of Willie Dixon featuring many of his lesser well known tunes. These are only lesser well known compared to Little Red Rooster et al and are certainly in no way inferior. You get "Bring it on Home" and "I Just Want to Make Love to You" as well as the title siong "I think I Got the Blues".

7. Poet of the Blues

This album covers Dixons work post-Chess and covers many of the classics such as "Back Door Man", "Spoonful" and "Hoochie Coochie Man". Again this album lets you hear the songwriter himself interpret them rather than their better known versions.

Whilst Dixon was one of blues music's greatest composers he was also a strong performer and this is definitely a worthy addition to your collection

9. Whoopin'

This is another live jam in a Recording Studio this time featuring Sonny Terry at the age of 72 on harmonica and vocals, Johnny Winter on guitar, Styve Homnick on drums and of course Willie Dixon on bass. This was recorded over 3 days with no overdubs and is simply stunning.

Standout tracks are "I Got My Eyes on You" and "Burnt Child" but really there are no dud tracks on this record.

10. What Happened to My Blues

This is a re-release of a 1976 album and was another Grammy Award nominee. Again this features Dixon covering his own compositions and it is in a more reflective and low-key vain that much of his earlier stuff.

Which Willie Dixon Album do you think is his Best

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    • tonymac04 profile image

      Tony McGregor 8 years ago from South Africa

      Willie Dixon, the "Poet of the Blues" indeed! This is a wonderful read. Thanks so much. Linking to my Blues Hub!

      Love and peace

      Tony

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